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Swizzle Rum Bar
Photograph: The Louis Collection

The best bars in Miami

Let’s raise a glass to the best bars in Miami—breezy rooftops, cozy wine bars and more great spots to drink up around town

By Virginia Gil

August 2021: It’s hot, sticky and rainy and, boy, could we use a drink. Luckily, the best bars in Miami have come to the rescue, lifting us up with refreshing drinks, cool A.C. (shoutout to Gramps!) and communal environments where we can all come together (safely) around our favorite cocktails. This list has grown since the last time we checked in. We welcome back Jaguar Sun, which closed its Little River pop-up and reemerged in its old downtown spot this summer. Plus, we’re making room for a mezcal speakeasy and a shiny new natural wine bar. Truly, there’s something for every person on this list—may you never go thirsty again. Cheers, friends!

Remember when the only cocktail anyone thought to order in Miami was a mojito? Those dark days are long gone. Over the past decade, star bartenders have emerged to introduce true mixology to the Magic City. One drink at a time, we went from enjoying well-and-soda mixes at our neighborhood spot to having the option of 10-ingredient tipples at a Miami speakeasy. While we still have our beloved dive bars and offbeat trailblazers, we’ve added new up-market rooftops and low-key spaces that are continuing the tradition of spirit-filled innovation. Thirsty yet? Here’s where to find the best bars in Miami, from Wynwood to South Beach to Little Havana.

Best of the city under one roof

Time Out Market Miami drinks
Photograph: Courtesy Time Out Market/Ruben Pictures

Time Out Market Bar - Time Out Market

Restaurants South Beach

Imagine a bar where the city’s top tipples flow, you never have to fight for a seat at the counter, and you don’t have to take out a loan to pay for your martini just because you’re in South Beach. (Read: The cocktails are cheap!) It’s all a reality at Time Out Market Miami, our roomy, well-appointed spot that features a curated menu of delicious drinks handpicked by the editors to represent Miami’s ever-growing cocktail culture.

Drink this: Cucumber Cooler

Best bars in Miami

Sweet Liberty
Photograph: Courtesy Sweet Liberty/Adam DelGiudice

1. Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company

Bars South Beach

Ranked on the World’s 50 Best Bars’ 2018 list, Sweet Liberty has the rare distinction of being a local spot, an industry hangout and a tourist fave. There’s something for everyone in the spacious bar, whether it’s an elegant $14 martini, 95¢ oysters and $7 rosé at happy hour or a beer and a shot after midnight. It’s a family affair, as most of the friendly staff has been around since Day One, and there’s always some kind of live music on the weekends to get you on your feet. Like the neon PURSUE HAPPINESS sign that hangs on the wall—the maxim of the bar’s late co-owner, John Lermayer—Sweet Liberty is always a good time.

Drink this: Tommy’s Margarita

Photograph: Courtesy Freehold

2. Freehold

Things to do Event spaces Wynwood

A genius idea that should’ve happened a long time ago, Freehold offers all of the comforts and coziness of a hotel without any of the rooms. If you’ve ever fallen hard for a hotel bar, you’ll understand the appeal here. There’s nothing like the Freehold, with its large courtyard designed to look like the non-hotel’s "pool." It’s here, under the glow of a giant disco bowl, where you’ll want to gather with friends to share one of Freehold’s legendary punch bowls filled with whatever boozy concoction your heart desires.

Drink this: Espresso martini on tap

Over Under
Photograph: Courtesy Over Under

3. Over Under

Bars Gastropubs Downtown

A funky ode to Florida, Over Under honors our great weird state with locally inspired food and an eclectic design that’s punctuated by quirky thrift-store finds. Co-owner Brian Griffiths is a Broken Shaker alum and a vanguard of the local cocktail scene, keeping things current with cleverly named concoctions like the Sorry Donald (rye whiskey, mezcal, tamarind) and refreshing sippers, such as the frozen Paloma with your choice of a floater.  Do keep the cup—they’re thermochromic and way better looking than the Flannigan’s cups you usually hoard.

Jaguar Sun
Courtesy Jaguar Sun/Natasha Moustache

4. Jaguar Sun

Bars Cocktail bars Downtown

It’s worth the search to find this sleek cocktail bar at the bottom of the Downtown residential building X Miami. Behind the lobby’s floor-to-ceiling curtain, co-owners Will Thompson, the bartender, and Carey Hynes, the chef (Momofuku, Per Se), tap
into something special, offering a unique selection of small batchers and artisanal spirits in an unpretentious, minimalist- modern setting. Don’t be surprised to find the bar crowded with people who are all digging into Hynes’s house-made bucatini and Parker House rolls and reaching for their large-format cocktails.

Drink this: Fino martini

Broken Shaker
Photograph: Yesi Flores

5. The Broken Shaker

Bars Cocktail bars Miami Beach

This is the bar that showed Miami just how wonderful craft cocktails can be. Started by consulting agency Bar Lab, the tropical spot operates at the Freehand Miami Beach. Shaded by palm trees, bordered by a pool and flush with refreshing umbrella drinks, it’s the kind of place that’s recommended by travel guides for a taste of the laid-back Miami lifestyle. Seasonally driven beverages are what make the Shaker shine, while oversize punch bowls keep it a favorite for groups.

Drink this: Watermelon daquiri

Mac's Club Deuce
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Peyri Herrera

6. Mac’s Club Deuce

Bars South Beach

Anthony Bourdain claimed this iconic dive as his ultimate Miami retreat, and he’s not alone. After more than 50 years in the
business, this South Beach institution still packs in the locals with an impossible-to-beat BOGO happy hour that runs every day from 8am (seriously) to 7pm. You’ll want to bring cash to the no-frills spot, where smoking is still allowed but credit cards are not.

Drink this: Pabst Blue Ribbon

Le Sirenuse Champagne Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Four Seasons Hotel/Christian Horan

7. Champagne Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club

Put on your fancy pants, people. The stunning, emerald-green bar at the Four Seasons in Surfside unapologetically embraces the finer things in life, like gilded bellini carts and expertly mixed cocktails that will set you back at least one Jackson. Not many places give such attention to detail, and everything that hits the glass has been crafted in-house, from the juices and the syrups to the bitters and the tinctures. Cheers to the good life—and the Taco Bell you’ll be eating all week to pay for your round of drinks at this truly sublime place.

Drink this: Negroni

La Yolanda
Photograph: Courtesy La Yolanda

8. La Yolanda Mezcalería Bar at La Santa Taquería

Restaurants Mexican Little River

What’s not to love about this speakeasy? It specializes in agave-based spirits, namely mezcal, and you enter through a trippy, mirrored, Tulum-inspired corridor through La Santa Taqueria—home to some of Miami’s best tacos. Once inside, a massive spinning disco ball welcomes you to the intimate space anchored by a small, glitzy bar lined with bottles you’ve likely never seen before, from small-batch mezcals to high-end tequilas. Ask the bartender about his favorite: dealer’s choice is the way to go here.

Drink this: A shot of mezcal with an orange slice.

Swizzle Rum Bar & Drinkery
Photograph: Courtesy the Louis Collection

9. Swizzle Rum Bar & Drinkery

Bars Cocktail bars South Beach

Tucked away down a short staircase that’s off the Styles Hotel lobby, Swizzle thrives in a quiet, sexy space away from noisy Collins Avenue. Evoking the feel of a small wooden pirate ship, the dark, barrow space is lined with more than 150 rums. Want to get two, maybe three sheets to the wid? Be warned: The beautiful, smooth-tasting cocktails are highly potent. Cozy up with your mains squeeze at the tiny bar or nab some nearby high-tops for your girls’ night out.

Drink this: The Besame Mucho

Lost Boy
Photograph: Courtesy The Workshop/Cyn Lagos

10. Lost Boy

Bars Cocktail bars Downtown

Decked out in Americana, this saloon’s atmosphere is casual, but the beverage program is working overtime, proffering microbrews, craft cocktails and rare spirits. Drink up over a game of darts or pool, then relax on one of the mismatched chairs that surround the ornamental upright piano. It’s a snug, vintage vibe with better gin-and-tonics than you could ever mix up in your living room.

Drink this: Cartel Colada

Margot Natural Wine Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Margot Natural Wine Bar/Donna Irene

11. Margot Natural Wine Bar

Bars Wine bars Downtown

Miami needs more wine bars and Margot hits the spot with nearly 100 labels of the natural stuff. We’re talking low-intervention varietals, organic vinos and wines sourced from small producers. Basically, everything in the airy, bilevel wine bar is a delight to drink. It’s an overwhelming menu but there are plenty of eager somms ready to guide you on your natural wine journey. On the flip side, the food selection is small but tightly edited to better serve your experience. Go for one of the cheeses and a crudo, and wing it.

Drink this: Any of the chilled reds

Photograph: Courtesy Esotico/Graspa Group/James Woodley

12. Esotico Miami

Bars Cocktail bars Omni

Daniele Dalla Pola’s ground-floor drinking den is a jungle of banana-plant wallpaper strewn with neon signs and kooky glassware (check out the hallowed Elvis drinking vessels, vintage tiki mugs and random Hawaiian knickknacks displayed in the towering glass case). Pola’s enthusiasm for tiki culture is contagious, and he’s been collecting for decades. On your first visit, he’ll have you sipping Polynesian-style rum drinks with
as much zeal as he puts into making them. Thanks to a long list of monumental cocktails and boozy punches, it’s a fun spot for, say, a birthday party.

Drink this: Vicious Virgin #9

Café La Trova
Photograph: Courtesy Café La Trova

13. Café La Trova

Restaurants Cafés East Little Havana

This nostalgia-soaked Cuban spot in Little Havana is every bit as delightful as the drinks are strong. Decorated cantinero Julio Cabrera mans the bar, slinging stiff, rum-based drinks and handcrafted mojitos that no one can resist. One of those rare places that attract locals and tourists alike, La Trova provides an electric atmosphere, live Spanish music and drink prices that won’t send you home broke. Bonus: It’s two bars in one! One the weekends, the restaurant’s back room turns into a neon-tinged, ’80s-themed party.

Drink this: Daquirí Clásico

The Sylvester
Photograph: Courtesy The Sylvester

14. The Sylvester

Bars Cocktail bars Midtown

This cozy, unassuming hodgepodge of vintage couches and retro Florida accents could’ve been a Golden Girls set. It's no surprise then that drinking at the Sylvester feels like you’re hanging at the house of a buddy with excellent mixology skills and a penchant for tropical wallpaper. Case in point: don’t spill anything on the furniture. Pass the time playing pool, poking around the pinball machine or, if it’s late enough, dancing. 

Drink this: The Bling Bling Papi

Photograph: Courtesy Gramps/Good Exposure

15. Gramps Bar

Bars Dive bars Wynwood

At Gramps, people from all walks of life congregate over the city’s best Moscow Mule. The Wynwood mainstay remains a favorite partly for its never-ending string of programming: Go for a killer drag showcase, try your hand at bingo or test your knowledge on trivia night. But if you just want to get (responsibly) sozzled, Gramps has got you covered: Mondays through Wednesday, happy hour takes place twice, from 4 to 8pm and from 11pm to 1am. Genius.

Drink this: Dark & Stormy

The Anderson
Photograph: Courtesy The Anderson/Alejandro Rivera

16. The Anderson

Bars Cocktail bars

The Anderson holds it down with a seasonally rotating menu and an incomparable Brooklyn-meets-Vegas aesthetic in full effect. For a little Mexican flair, the El Toro Taco truck out back is ready to take your order, and the daily, 5–8pm happy hour features $5 cocktails and $3 tacos. Sounds like the ideal dinner to us.

Drink this: Paloma

Lagniappe wine bar Miami
Photograph: Courtesy Lagniappe

17. Lagniappe

Bars Wineries Midtown

This beer-and-wine bar’s live jazz, warm bistro lighting and clashing furnishings will charm your socks off, if the convenience of drinking here doesn’t do you in first. Roll deep with no concern for seating or check drama: Tables are first come, first served, and you pay your bill up front at the counter when you order. Couples, head to the inside area for some privacy, live music and the booze fridge. Are you with your crew and need more room? Make a beeline for the large, ramshackle yard, where you can spread out for a lively convo.

Order this: Chilled rosé

Mama Tried
Photograph: Adam DelGiudice

18. Mama Tried

Bars Cocktail bars Downtown

Strewn with velvet, mirrors and disco balls, the nightclub feels out of place in grungy Downtown. But some might say it’s given the neighborhood a taste of what it’s been missing: a place to dance, a bar that stays open late and a one-stop nightlife destination for people starting their evening with a solid cocktail or ending their night with a shot and a game of pool.

Drink this: Porn Star Martini

The Corner, Bars and lounges, Miami
Photograph: Courtesy The Corner

19. The Corner

Bars Tapas bars Park West

An unlikely proposition in downtown’s 24-hour club district, this corner bar somehow holds its own against E11EVEN and the other neighboring giants. The dark, smoky space is meant for folks who’d rather sip a craft cocktail huddled at one of its wooden bistro tables than drop cash on bottle service.
So, save your money and enjoy the free jazz performances and discounted drinks during the 4–8pm weekday happy hour or put your loot toward a croque-madame or a Chicago hot dog after a night of partying. The kitchen stays open until 5am, and the bites best any drunk slice you'll find in the area.

Drink this: Hot & Smokey

Photograph: Courtesy Swire Hotels

20. Sugar

Bars Cocktail bars Brickell

The city’s tallest (and buzziest) rooftop bar sits on the 40th floor of Brickell’s East, Miami, where the views and the drink prices are equally soaring. Even if you’re the one footing the bill for the Asian-inspired cocktails (the Oh You Fancy, Huh? is a whopping $23), the vantage point is hard to beat. Splurge on the tequila-based Jasmine or the vodka-soaked Lychee Blossom, then relax in one of the lounge setups amid the beautiful gardenscape.

Drink this: East of Miami

Taberna Las Rosas
Photograph: Courtesy Taberna Las Rosas

21. Las Rosas

Restaurants Allapattah

Gritty, grungy and smack-dab in the middle of a rapidly changing neighborhood, Las Rosas is not for everyone, but it’s certainly for folks who appreciate an inexpensive stiff drink and live tunes. While its regular schedule of open mic nights and concerts hasn’t been added back on the calendar, the cool crowd still piles into the Allapattah bar to play pool and tear up the dance floor. 

Drink this: A customized Paloma

Hungry yet?


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